Recent political developments in Enugu State paint a picture of a state in the process of becoming a democratic state; one where the so called democracy dividends can be shared. The state has gone for 12 years as a single party state or more correctly a one man state for there was never a party. When Mr. Nnamani was governor, he was the state, the party and the
A position that made it possible for him to single handedly select Mr. Chime as his successor.
Mr. Chime on assuming office merely replaced Mr. Nnamani as the governor, the party and the electorate. The only difference was that he did not want a co-governor and he dutifully eliminated Mr. Nnamani as a co holder of the office. He became the new king of the state from where we kept reading that he “donated” a few millions of Naira to one school or the other; to one local government or another. His unending donations once led me to ask how he made his money that he is donating. It turned out it was from the state treasury that the “donations” were coming from.
That is what you get when the state end the governor are the same. All these seem to be coming to a head. The first sign that things may changing was the defection of the Ebeano Group (Nnamani followers) from the PDP. The second development is the dissolution of Enugu State PDP Executive.
Both of these developments are positive for the people of Enugu State . One likely outcome from these developments would be an opposition group. The existence of a single party is the greatest threat to democracy and a demonstration of under development. There is almost always more than a view point on any issue. A state where everybody sees things from the same view point is severely undeveloped or peopled with robots. Enugu does not meet any of the conditions.
The antidote to a totalitarian government is the existence of ready and able opposition to current government. With a strong and competent opposition ready to take over, the incumbent government would need to be on top of its game to hang on to power. And when this is the case, the people benefit. This explains why the first 2 years of Chime Administration was better than the last 2 years. In the first part his governorship was hanging on the balance until he won his court battles and then the real Chime started coming out.
The dissolution of PDP executive and the reemergence of Ebeano group creates a three way fight in Enugu between three strong leaders. In reconstituting the state PDP Mr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, a one time governor would try to influence events in the state to suite him and to give him strong leverage on the affairs of Enugu . He was a dynasty governor; his father had been a minister in the early years of Nigeria Independence. In attempting to hold on to his control of the state, the incumbent governor Mr. Chime, himself a dynasty governor as well, (his father was another minister in the early years of Nigerian Independence) will try to exert as much influence as possible to control political power in Enugu.
The third anchor in the tripod would be Mr. Nnamani the erstwhile governor of the state who was forcefully expelled by his chosen godson, Mr. Chime. There is a very weak fourth person who might throw his hat into the ring. He would be another possible dynasty governor by the name of MaxMilliam Okwu whose father was the other minister from the state in the early years of Independence . If he enters the race he would be the weakest of the four but could bring the unrepresented Greater Awgu Division into play. But be that as it may, it is looking as if the state would finally play politics the way it is supposed to be played: competitive sports.
What would make the election competitive is that three governors each had sat at the corner office at the state capital. Each knows a thing or two about rigging elections, each knows who the key king-makers are and how to bring them aboard; and each has a big enough ego and killer instinct that goes with big egos and is capable of employing the instinct.
The beauty of this struggle is that even when any two form alliance to defeat the third, the remaining third would still retain a strong second strike capability. That third could not be wiped out by the first strike threat, especially if the third tripod is able to ally with Mr. Okwu, the weak possible fourth force. Who knows, 2011 might still be the year Enugu state emerges from totalitarianism to democracy.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
October 25, 2010